St. Eustatius and Saba Work to Save Coral Reefs

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The project, dubbed “Healthy and Resilient Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Through Reforestation of St Eustatius and Saba”, will include the reforestation of areas stripped bare of vegetation due to land erosion caused by heavy rainfall.

The €722,165 project is funded by the European Union, through its 11th European Development Fund programme, a €30.5 billion aid package for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and overseas countries and territories (OCTs). The Dutch Caribbean islands’ undertaking falls directly under the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID), a 69-month programme which began in 2019 to support the sustainable human development efforts of the 12 Caribbean OCTs, namely: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten and St. Barths.

The implementing partner for RESSEMBID is Expertise France, the French public agency for the design and implementation of international technical cooperation projects, which signed an agreement with the Statia government late last year, under which Statia will oversee implementation of the venture.

The St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) will execute the project as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the Statia government. Other partners for this activity are the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) and the Government of Saba. 

As part of the MOU, Statia (8.1 square miles) and Saba (five square miles) will share expertise and experiences. Statia will also begin cultivation of plants for Saba, while that island builds the necessary infrastructure. Statia’s beekeepers will also train potential new beekeepers in Saba.

The non-government organisations and the Statia Government signed an agreement late last year, financed by the EU and implemented by the Expertise France programme, RESEMBID. This project will benefit both Statia and Saba by reforesting erosion-prone, watershed and discharge areas, which in turn will slow and redirect water into below-ground aquifers in the denuded areas. It will also restrict the release of sediment onto surrounding coral reefs. Thus, it will improve the resilience of both the forest and coral reefs, for the benefit of the local populace.

Full article: St. Eustatius and Saba Work to Save Coral Reefs
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